EUGENE, Ore. — With people ringing in the New Year, police officers hit the streets to find drunk drivers.
Both in Eugene and Springfield, each and every officer working had their hands full. “When you get to the point where you’re restricting officer response to only the highest priority calls and are reallocating resources that are supposed to be focusing on intoxicated drivers to other higher priority calls, that’s a busy night,” said Eugene Police Lt. Scott Fellman.
Those high priority calls included a pedestrian hit and run and fights in the streets. “Fighting in the streets and yelling and stuff like that. A lot of them were resolved, some we really didn’t get to because all our officers were tied up with things,” said Springfield Police Sgt. Brian Gay.
But Springfield Police said it’s not just overnight that they’re getting calls about impaired drivers. “It seems to me since the last couple months we’re also seeing a lot of DUIs on daywatch. We arrested one in the afternoon around 2:00 p.m. with a high BAC,” said Gay.
The department said other drivers on the street are reporting impaired drivers. “People are calling us, they’re calling in reckless driving and road rage. Some are legitimate but we as resources are available we’ll go out and follow people,” said Gay.
The Eugene Police Department said it’s surprised so many people are drinking and driving. “I really am. After decades of public information on intoxicated driving, to continue to see the number of drunk drivers that we see is a little disheartening at times. People really need to plan ahead, they need to have a designated driver and need to be more careful,” said Fellman.